Cool Runnings is an inspirational movie that has many lessons we can use to be successful. It can easily be passed off as a simple Disney kids movie but there is so much more it has to offer. I watched the movie again recently to remind me how important sport can be in teaching us to be determined and never give up on our goals.
I’ve recently hit a bit of a slump after achieving so much in recent months. This is expected when you push through so many barriers and then don’t take the time to look at how far you’ve come. Taking time out to be grateful and inspire yourself with movies like Cool Runnings is so important.
Here are the 5 lessons you can learn from the movie Cool Runnings:
1. The underdog can win
At its core, Cool Runnings is a movie about the underdog. You can have all the money and resources in the world like the Swiss bobsled team in the movie, and still not be able to win. The movie shows us that the way you think and your mindset outweighs everything else.
When you think being the underdog is going to make you lose, you will – badly. If you believe that anything is possible and you deserve success, then you will be closer to where you want to get to.
The Jamaicans had every reason to think they were inferior with their beaten up bobsled yet they believed in their dream. They knew they were pursuing their Olympic dream for a reason and they weren’t going to let anyone tell them they couldn’t win a gold medal.
The guys visualised their dream every day and even though they didn’t know exactly how they would get there, they believed the underdog could win. In your life, do you believe you can achieve your dream even though it might seem so far away?
By adopting the underdog way of thinking from Cool Runnings, you can reframe situations where you are in last place, to situations of belief and knowing that your disadvantages are sometimes your greatest advantages.
2. Being different is important
The Cool Runnings movie spent a lot of time emphasizing how the Jamaicans were so different from everyone else. They were not used to cold conditions, they had a broken down bobsled, they had very little money, they dressed differently, and they were amateurs at the sport.
By being so different, they stood out more and this is what got people behind their mission. If they were like everyone else, they might never have found their voice and their true identity. Pretending to be what society wants you to be is a guaranteed way to fail.
The more you embrace your culture and the quirkiness of your true self, the more you can stop living a lie and being a Hollywood actor at life. You can’t act your way to success because eventually, you’ll realise you’re incongruent and then your inner world will come crashing down.
Be like the Jamaican bobsled team and just be happy with who you are. Embrace who you are!
3. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do
The character Junior in Cool Runnings comes from a very wealthy family. His dad tries to stop him from his dream and tells him that he knows best. As the movie progresses, Junior realises that what his dad told him is false.
The only person that knows what’s best for him is himself. This vital lesson shows us that you can’t let outside forces and other people shape your life.
If you’re working some job because you think it’s what everyone else wants you to do and because it gives you a certain amount of comfort money, then at some stage, your life will come crashing down. Your dream is uniquely your own and your family and friends may think it’s nuts.
It’s typically in these circumstances that you know you’re on the right path. The only person that can truly understand you is yourself. By trying to impress everyone else and playing the part others want you to play, you miss out on the activities that truly make you feel fulfilled.
Don’t be fooled; only you can tell yourself what to do and what feels right. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t have your dream because you can. It all starts with you.
4. You’re enough already
John Candy’s character “Irv” in Cool Runnings is depicted as an Olympic cheat. In a previous Olympics, he is found to have put extra weights into the bobsled to make it go faster. Irv tells Derice in the movie that he cheated because he made winning his whole life.
He explains that when you make winning your whole life you have to keep on winning no matter what. Even though Irv had won two gold medals, he says he learned that you have to be enough before a triumph like winning a gold medal; otherwise you will never be enough after winning a gold medal.
Think of an Olympic gold medal like your dream. If you dream of becoming influential and being known globally as someone who is the best in their field, you have to be happy with who you are and being enough before you have all the success.
Having enormous success can create even more problems if you haven’t got control of who you are beforehand. No matter what, right now, you are already enough. Chase your dream because of what it can do to inspire others and what it can do for others. Don’t chase your dream so that you can become enough.
5. Everyone deserves a second chance
Vishen Lakhiani says in his book “The Extraordinary Mind” that forgiveness has such an important part in our inner mind and it can help to increase our alpha brainwaves. In Cool Runnings, we see the character Irv plead for forgiveness and get given a second chance.
The reality is this: everyone will make a massive mistake at some point in their life. In fact, this will probably happen multiple times in someone’s lifetime. We have to learn to let go of the past and be able to give someone a second chance.
No one is perfect and we all have a lapse in thinking at times. When you give someone a second chance to show you the good they have inside of them, you open the door to an array of emotions and help to make impossible events possible.
The Jamaican bobsled team in Cool Runnings would never have made it to the Olympics if the Winter Olympics committee didn’t forgive Irv and allow him to make up for what he did by cheating prior. It’s not so much about what someone has done, but how they retell the story of their misdemeanor and the new meaning they give this event.
If someone can show you that they have learned from their mistake and they can explain how they messed up, you’d be crazy not to give them a second chance. Imagine if that was you in that situation. Wouldn’t you want to be given a second chance?
Have you been inspired by Cool Runnings? What did you learn? Let me know in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net and my Facebook.
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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